Alan Whitehead

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For other people named Alan Whitehead, see Alan Whitehead (disambiguation).
Dr Alan Whitehead
MP
Member of Parliament
for Southampton Test
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by James Hill
Majority 2,413 (5.5%)
Personal details
Born (1950-09-15) 15 September 1950 (age 64)
Isleworth, Middlesex, England
Nationality English
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Southampton

Alan Patrick Vincent Whitehead (born 15 September 1950) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Southampton Test since 1997.

Early life[edit]

He went to Isleworth Grammar School and then studied Politics and Philosophy at the University of Southampton, was President of Southampton University Students' Union and holds a PhD in Political Science. From 1979-82 he was Director of OUTSET, then from 1983-92 he worked for BIIT, being Director, both being charities. Before becoming an MP, Dr Whitehead was the Leader of Southampton City Council from 1984 to 1992 and a Professor of Public Policy at Southampton Institute. His name is mentioned by lead singer of Led Zeppelin in a bootleg recording from Southampton University on 22 January 1973. He asks the crowd "who's that geezer whose name is on the bog wall?" to which the crowd reply "Alan Whitehead". The song "Whole Lotta Love" at that performance is dedicated to him.

Personal life[edit]

Whitehead divorced from local Southampton City Councillor Wyn Jeffery, and shortly afterwards remarried to Sophie Wronska in 1979, and they have a son and daughter. He is a member of the Saints Trust and plays in the UK parliamentary football team. After looking at the possibility of being the first MP to install a wind turbine installed on his constituency home roof in Highfield, Southampton, Whitehead installed a number of solar panels that were integrated into the roof. During the summer months, Whitehead says he sells electricity from this source back to the national grid.

Career in Parliament[edit]

  • 1997-1999: Member of the Select Committee on Environment Transport and the Regions
  • 1999: Parliamentary Private Secretary to Baroness Blackstone, Minister for Higher and Post 16 Education
  • June 2001 - May 2002: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (responsible for local government, the regions and the Fire Service - Whitehead was the minister responsible for Health and Safety[1])

Current committee memberships:

Chair of PRASEG, the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group Co-Chair, Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Waste Group Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland Member, Associate Parliamentary Ports and Merchant Navy Group Member, Group on Charitable Giving Member, Estonia All-Party Parliamentary Group

Dr Whitehead voted against the Iraq war on the basis of the mission not receiving endorsement from the UN [1]. He lobbied for changes to the Government's Education White Paper. He does not support building new nuclear power stations, believing that nuclear is uneconomic. He voted in favour of ID cards and for a ban on fox hunting.

Renewable energy politics[edit]

Dr Whitehead has lobbied for the increased use of sustainable energy sources, particularly microgeneration. He criticised the results of the Energy Review,[2][dead link] and was the co-author of EDM 2204[2] which states ‘the case for nuclear has not yet been made’ and urges the government to ‘recognise the enormous potential for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by energy efficiency and conservation, greater use of combined heat and power, and rapid investment in the full range of renewable technologies, including microgeneration.’

As leader of Southampton City Council in 1986, Dr Whitehead proposed that the city council take measures to become a ‘self sustaining city’ with regard to energy generation.[3][dead link] One such measure was the conversion of Southampton Civic Centre to being heated by local reservoirs of geothermal energy.

Dr Whitehead sits as a non-executive director of a non-profit making company called SSEL Ltd,[citation needed] formed to deliver a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) project, which was partially funded by the Government as part of the regeneration of outer Shirley [4][dead link]. The CHP system recycles the by-product 'low grade heat' made during the electricity generation process and uses the by-product to heat water which is piped to local homes. This scheme has been criticised by the current Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Environment & Transport, Matthew Dean, for being unviable and the Council's involvement in the project has now ended.[citation needed]

Dr Whitehead’s Private Members Bill,[3] was ‘talked out’ by Conservative backbenchers in 2005, but many of the Bill’s most important aspects were incorporated into the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006, sponsored by Mark Lazarowicz MP.

Dr Whitehead’s amendments to the bill[citation needed] included:

Dr Whitehead is an outspoken supporter of action on anthropogenic climate change, and has called debate by Members of Parliament who reject the scientific view a "flat earth love-in".[4]

Houses in multiple occupancy[edit]

Due to the high concentration of houses in multiple occupation in Southampton, in 2007 Whitehead proposed changing planning regulations which would mean a landlord would be required to apply for planning permission if they wanted to convert a family home into an HMO housing more than 4 people.[5]. The proposal is being considered as part of the government's current review of the private housing sector, which will report in October 2008.[6]

Pre-pay meters[edit]

Alan Whitehead is currently campaigning with the National Housing Federation to end the current pricing practice utilised by several energy companies which sees customers who pay for their electricity or gas via pre-pay meters pay more for the same amount of energy than customers who pay via direct debit.[7] Dr Whitehead argues:

“Ten per cent. of pre-pay electricity customers are in fuel poverty compared with only 3.5 per cent. of direct debit customers. In short, those who need affordable energy most pay far more for it than those who do not. What is worse, because of the nature of pre-payment, most of them are not aware of that fact.”

Supplier Average Standard Credit Average Pre-pay meter Average difference

SC to PPM

Npower £911 £1,021 +£110
Powergen £916 £1,001 +£85
British Gas £914 £994 +£80
SSE £872 £935 +£63
EDF £908 £934 +£26
Scottish Power £961 £931 - £30

Source: http://www.alan-whitehead.org.uk/pr/2007/october09.html

Education Bill 2006[edit]

Along with fellow Labour MPs Estelle Morris, John Denham and Martin Salter, Dr Whitehead co-wrote the so-called alternative education white paper 'Shaping the Education Bill- Reaching for Consensus,' which criticised the weakening of the role of Local Education Authorities in the provision of education services and called for the schools admissions code to be made mandatory. He voted for the Bill when Alan Johnson, the new Education Secretary, accepted many of the alternative white paper’s proposals.

Rebellions[edit]

Dr Whitehead has rebelled against a government 3-line whip on the following issues:

Whitehead's rebellion against a government 3-line whip on Trident renewal is not surprising, given that archived documents have recently emerged showing that in 1982-83 Whitehead paid a subscription to Southampton CND.[5]

Alan Whitehead was quoted by the Mail as comparing Gordon Brown to the former US President William Taft, citing that both had lacked the “phwoarr” factor which is now seen as necessary to survive in today's political climate. [8].

World Cup 2006[edit]

In June 2006 the UK Parliamentary Football Team ran a charity match in Portugal against the Portuguese Parliament, which coincided with part of the world cup. The match and the trip was sponsored by McDonalds as part of their Football in the Community Programme. The UKPFC was criticised for accepting McDonalds sponsorship by the BMA.[9]. Alan Whitehead, who at the time played in goal for the UKPFC, fully declared the sponsorship in his register of members interests.[10] He also pointed out the trip was part of a long-standing fundraising campaign between the UKPFC and McDonalds that raised over 20,000 euros for local charities.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2002/e02065.htm
  2. ^ "Early day motion 2204: New Nuclear Build". House of Commons. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Management of Energy in Buildings". House of Commons. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "10 Sep 2013 : Column 238WH". Debate on the Climate Change Act. House of Commons. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Title Unknown". Archived from the original on 2009-10-24. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Hill
Member of Parliament for Southampton Test
1997–present
Incumbent